CNS Spotlight – Exceptional Speakers at the 2016 CNS Annual Meeting

cns-mtgThis year’s 2016 Congress of Neurological Surgeons (CNS) Annual Meeting, Sept. 24-28, 2016, in San Diego, CA, has an exceptional ensemble of featured speakers which embody the meeting theme Neurosurgery: Advance, Adapt, Achieve. These speakers are innovators and leaders in technology, sports, literature, military and history.

CNS President, Russell R. Lonser, MD, FAANS, selected neurosurgical leader, Edward H. Oldfield, MD, FAANS, to serve as this year’s Honored Guest. Dr. Oldfield is the Crutchfield Professor of Neurosurgery and professor of internal medicine in the department of neurological surgery at the University of Virginia. Dr. Oldfield has made essential practice-altering insights into malignant tumor biology and treatment, nervous system drug delivery, pituitary disorders, spinal vascular malformations, neoplasia syndromes, and Chiari I malformation. Dr. Lonser describes him as “an outstanding mentor.” Dr. Oldfield will be presenting three lectures throughout the meeting at the General Scientific Sessions:

The Walter E. Dandy Orator is the legendary co-founder of Apple Computer Inc., tech icon and philanthropist Steve Wozniak, who takes the stage for an intimate conversation during Monday’s General Scientific Session.

The Neurosurgery Lecturer, Oakland A’s Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Billy Beane, is best known for his revolutionary style of baseball management, which was the inspiration for the best-selling book and Oscar-nominated film, Moneyball. He will be speaking at Tuesday’s General Scientific Session.

New York Times bestselling author, Daniel James Brown, is this year’s John L. Thompson History of Medicine Lecturer. His New York Times No. 1 bestselling book, The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympic Games, tells the inspirational story of young men beating the odds. He will be giving a lecture during Sunday’s general session, and will be signing copies of his book at the CNS Opening Reception Sunday evening.

The Michael L. J. Apuzzo Lecturer on Innovation and Creativity is the leading constitutional scholar, Akhil Reed Amar, an award-winning Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale University. He will discuss on contemporary challenges to the U.S. Constitution during the General Scientific Session on Sunday.

The Sunday General Scientific Session will also feature the U.S. Naval Air Forces Commander and naval aviation’s seventh “Air Boss,” Vice Admiral Mike Shoemaker. VADM Shoemaker will give a lecture on adapting to challenges in a dynamic environment to achieve mission success.

The CNS has also invited international bestselling author Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, co-author of the bestselling book, Big Data: A Revolution that Will Transform How We Live, Work, and Think. He will deliver a lecture on Big Data’s impact on medicine at Tuesday’s General Scientific Session and will also sign copies of his book at the CNS membership booth in the Exhibit Hall on Tuesday following his lecture.

We look forward to seeing everyone in the beautiful city of San Diego for what promises to be a fantastic meeting!

Editor’s Note: For more information about some of the aforementioned speakers, please view the following introduction videos:

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Pediatric Trauma: Number One Killer of Children in the United States

hudsonGuest post from Representative Richard Hudson (R-N.C.)
Member, House Energy and Commerce Committee and
Co-Chair of the Pediatric Trauma Caucus

Pediatric trauma is the number one killer of children in the United States. One person dies from an injury every three minutes in the United States. Because children have significant anatomical and physiological differences from adults, specific knowledge is required to diagnose and manage pediatric patients.

According to the National Safety Council, unintentional injuries sustained in one year will have a lifetime cost exceeding $794 billion. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recently released a report saying the total cost of injuries in the United States was $671 billion in 2013, and the cost from children aged 1-18 is around $30 billion. This does not take into account the emotional toll of the loss of a loved one on a family and community.


Neurosurgeon Dr. Shelly D. Timmons (3rd from left) participates at the Pediatric Trauma Caucus briefing on injuries in sports.

There are two primary ways to address trauma: prevention and post-injury care. Prevention takes the form of education and safety measures such as seat belts, air bags, back-up car cameras, smoke/CO2 detectors, helmets and controlled substances education. Increasing preventative measures has greatly reduced death tolls from traumatic injuries. For example, seat belts have saved an estimated 225,000 lives between 1975 and 2008, but accidents will continue to be inevitable so it is critical to maintain a robust trauma care system.

Post-injury care is what we think of when we picture trauma treatment at hospitals. It is a system of progressive access to graduated care centers that accelerate the likelihood of survival and prevention of permanent disabilities.

pediatric-trauma-infographicEmergency medicine practitioners, including neurosurgeons, refer to “the golden hour” as the time during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical treatment will prevent death or permanent disability after a traumatic injury. If a child reaches a certified trauma center within the first hour after injury, they have a 25 percent greater chance of survival. Twenty percent of children in the United States, however, live in areas that are more than an hour away from a trauma center.

Despite these systemic deficiencies, there has been insufficient attention paid to this epidemic by the federal government. This is why, with Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, I have commissioned a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to identify areas of the country with access issues, best practices for hospitals and trauma centers in treating pediatric patients, and the differences in care between the distinct systems of care in our country.


Rep. Hudson speaking at the Pediatric Trauma Caucus briefing on 9/21/16.

Additionally, I have convened with my colleague from North Carolina and the Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.), a bipartisan working group of members of Congress that will explore policy solutions to the pediatric trauma epidemic in our country. This working group, called the Pediatric Trauma Caucus, will also educate members of Congress and their staff about the pediatric trauma epidemic as we explore specific policy solutions. Kicked off in May at a briefing held in conjunction with the Energy and Commerce, the Pediatric Trauma Caucus will hold events throughout the year on specific issues within the system of care for pediatric trauma patients.

Workable solutions are urgently needed to address the epidemic rate at which children are dying from traumatic injuries. Our children are our most important assets and it is vital that we provide them with best care. My colleagues and I remain committed to finding ways to improve our trauma care systems and reduce the alarming number of pediatric deaths each year from trauma injuries.

Editor’s Note: During the month of September, we encourage everyone to join the conversation online by using the hashtag #ConcussionFacts. For more information on this topic, read organized neurosurgery’s Background Paper entitled, “Pediatric Trauma in the United States: Challenges of Ensuring Adequate Trauma Care for the Pediatric Patient.”

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Faces of Neurosurgery: TRACK-ing Progress in Traumatic Brain Injury

krisGuest post from Kristopher T. Kimmell, MD
Neurosurgical Resident, University of Rochester Medical Center
Rochester, NY

By now many have grown numb to the statistics regarding traumatic brain injury (TBI) in the United States. Over two million people see a medical professional for symptoms related to a traumatic head injury each year. If these numbers only make the problem seem unreal, then consider the more personal side of traumatic head injury:

  • A sixty-year-old woman slips down the stairs in her home, falling into a deep coma. She is found to have a large intracranial hemorrhage. Emergency surgery is performed, but it fails to improve her neurologic status.
  • A ten-year-old boy is involved in a high-speed automobile accident on the freeway. His entire brain swells dangerously, threatening to progress to complete loss of blood flow to the brain, the result of which is brain death. He undergoes emergency surgery to have both sides of his skull removed and then is placed in a pharmacologic coma. After several weeks in the intensive care unit, followed by a prolonged stay in a rehabilitation hospital, he walks home with his mother and father and siblings.
  • A twenty-four-year-old man, who had too much to drink while at a lake outing, crashes a jet ski into the dock. He comes into the hospital with a severe skull fracture that has lacerated the linings around his brain and has bruised the brain itself. He undergoes surgery to have the fractured bone fragments removed and goes home several days after his injury.

TBI is not a faceless public health issue that impacts people on the other side of the world. It is agnostic to your race, your gender, your age and your socioeconomic status. Its effects are felt on any number of people in your life: your neighbor, your child, your cousin, your grandmother. Despite its far-reaching effects, TBI is still a very poorly understood disease process. As General Peter Chiarelli cogently pointed out in his blog post, there is a lack of consensus regarding how to diagnose, how to treat, and how to assess treatments for TBI. It is hard to fight an enemy when you don’t even know what to call it.

Dr. Geoff Manley has set out to change that.

Dr. Geoff Manley

Dr. Geoff Manley

Geoffrey T. Manley, MD, PhD, FAANS, is Vice Chairman of Neurological Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. He is Chief of Neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital and the Co-Director of the UCSF Brain and Spinal Injury Center (BASIC). He is also one of the principal investigators of a radical new National Institutes of HealthNational Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH-NINDS) sponsored trial called TRACK-TBI. The goal of TRACK-TBI is to transform clinical research in TBI. It is the first precision medicine effort in TBI research, with a goal to collect clinical, blood/biospecimen, radiologic and outcome data from three thousand TBI patients nationwide. At present, the trial is over halfway to its goal, with over sixteen hundred patients enrolled. The data collected will be stored in an accessible data repository, with the goal not only to gain further insight into the TBI disease process, but also to help in designing future clinical trials. As Dr. Manley points out, the current understanding of TBI is “as an event, not a process.” Currently, there is no way even to confirm a diagnosis of TBI in many patients with milder injuries, such as concussion. But with data collected from studies such as TRACK-TBI, we may be even closer to a combination of blood test and imaging study that could confirm the diagnosis and, as a result, lead to new treatments. With newly tested and validated treatments there will be ways to track outcomes and improve the quality of care for patients with all levels of TB I— from mild concussion to more severe traumatic injuries.


Dr. Manley has always had a passion for neurosciences and neurosurgery. He obtained his MD and PhD in the Medical Scientist Training Program while at Cornell University in New York. During his neurosurgery training at UCSF, he immediately saw the opportunity to make a clinical impact by studying traumatic injuries of the brain and spinal cord. He is passionate not only about the science of TBI, but also the day-to-day care of patients with traumatic injuries. There are few surgeries a neurosurgeon can perform where the immediate result is saving a life; however, may neurotrauma cases, such as removing a large traumatic hemorrhage that is compressing the brain, offer the neurosurgeon such a gratifying opportunity. Dr. Manley believes that the field of neurotrauma is wide open to neurosurgeons, with so little known regarding a disease process that has such a significant public health impact. To date, many patients who sustain a TBI are an orphaned population, with no clinics or specialists available to help them deal with the aftermath and recovery from their injury. Dr. Manley asserts that neurosurgeons are best suited to be leaders in the field of TBI.

manley-2We salute Dr. Geoff Manley, with his passion and scholarship, as a face of neurosurgery who is pushing TBI research and patient care forward.

Editor’s Note: During the month of September, we encourage everyone to join the conversation online by using the hashtag #ConcussionFacts.

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